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DV Pilot police & fire

Suspicious man with cellphone outside Elmwood Park elementary school was parent, police say

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

UPDATE: A man who a trio of Elmwood Park 5th-graders said seemed to be taking photos of them was actually a parent, police said this morning.

During increased patrols at the Gantner Avenue Elementary School during dropoffs this morning, Detective Chris Liptak spotted a car decribed by the girls. The driver also fit the description they gave, he said.

Liptak spoke with the man, who turned out to be the father of a third-grade student he’d dropped off this morning and yesterday, when the incident was reported.

“He indicated that he was utilizing his phone to enhance the image of his child as he watched his child enter the building safely because he did not see any faculty members outside,” Foligno said.

Authorities also found a teacher whom the parent eventually saw and waved to before driving off yesterday, the chief added.

His phone didn’t have images of the girls who reported him, and “he was checked through the sex offender registry and for any criminal history, which both turned up negative,” Foligno said.

Police yesterday sought surveillance videos and talked with several people after the girls said the white or Hispanic driver behind the wheel of an older model, four-door red sedan parked in a lot off Miles Street behind the school was taking photos with his cellphone.

“We met with the children (ages 10 and 11) and their parents, along with school administrators, while stepping up patrols at the Gatner School, especially during dropoffs and pickups today,” Foligno told CLIFFVIEW PILOT yesterday.

Their concerns seemed legitimate, the chief emphasized.

Despite the welcome resolution of the incident, he urged parents to tell their children never to hesitate to alert a teacher, school official, crossing guard, police officer or parent if they see anything suspicious on their way to or from school.

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